'Sesame Street' Welcomes Two New Muppets to Teach Kids About Race and Identity

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The two Black muppets, 5-year-old Wes and his father, Elijah, make their debut in a short online video.

Sesame Street is adding two new Black muppets to help teach kids about race.

The two Muppets, 5-year-old Wes and his father, Elijah, make their debut in a short online video created by Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit educational organization behind the show. In the video, Elmo wants to know why Wes' skin is brown. Elijah explains the concept of melanin and that the color of our skin is an important part of who we are, according to a press release from Sesame Workshop.

It's part of the new series, Coming Together: The ABCs of Racial Literacy, which includes resources to support families in talking to their children about race and racism. Sesame Workshop also released a new music video “Giant,” that featuring the Sesame Street Muppets celebrating their own unique identities.

In another video the workshop said is coming soon, Rosita's mom and her friend Sofia help Rosita cope with a racist incident, while also celebrating speaking Spanish. Additional resources include videos featuring real families talking about their experiences, activities for families to do together, and talking points and conversation starters for families.

"At Sesame Workshop, we look at every issue through the lens of a child. Children are not colorblind—not only do they first notice differences in race in infancy, but they also start forming their own sense of identity at a very young age," said Dr. Jeanette Betancourt, Senior Vice President, Sesame Workshop. "The ABCs of Racial Literacy is designed to foster open, age-appropriate conversations among families and support them in building racial literacy. By encouraging these much-needed conversations through Coming Together, we can help children build a positive sense of identity and value the identities of others."

"Sesame Workshop has always stood for diversity, inclusion, equity, and kindness. As a trusted source for families, we have a responsibility to speak out for racial justice and empower families to have conversations about race and identity with their children at a young age," said Kay Wilson Stallings, Executive Vice President of Creative and Production at Sesame Workshop. "The work to dismantle racism begins by helping children understand what racism is and how it hurts and impacts people. Sadly, today's announcement comes at a time of racial and social discord when many families are in need of support in talking to their children about racism. We're proud to reaffirm our Coming Together commitment to racial justice, which will be woven into new Sesame Workshop content for years to come."

The resources, in both English and Spanish, are available at no cost to families at SesameWorkshop.org/ComingTogether.

This story was originally published by Atlanta's CBS 46 on March 23, 2021.